Flash Fiction, Shorts

The Collector

That man was coming today, he just knew it.

For the past two weeks he had watched from behind his window as a tall man in a brown overcoat knocked on each of his neighbors doors. Since he arrived, there had been three suicides on the same street.

And he knew that the man was coming today.

He was frying himself up some bacon when he heard a knock at the door. He jumped, and a splatter of hot grease splashed onto his bare stomach. Cursing to himself, he wiped off the grease with a towel, threw on a shirt, and went to the door. He peered through the peephole and saw exactly who he had expected. He opened the door.

The tall man in the brown overcoat greeted him with a smile. He wore a brown bowler on his head and a brown goatee on his face, and when he smiled his white teeth showed brown coffee stains. “Good morning,” he said. “I’m The Collector. How are you today?”

“What?”

“You are Brian Cranston of 224 E. Hannower Lane, are you not?”

“Umm, yes. Yes, I am.”

“Good.”The Collector let himself inside and sat down at Brian Cranston’s dining room table.

Brian followed him. “Excuse me,” he said, “You said you were the Collector, but what is it you collect, exactly?”

The Collector let out a deep breath. “Oh, final thoughts, last words…what you’ve gotten out of the whole experience, you know,” he shrugged his shoulders. “Any feedback is good feedback.”

“I’m sorry, but I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The Collector gestured around him. “All of this. Everything. You don’t think the world runs on pure chance, do you? I wouldn’t be here if you weren’t going to kill yourself, let’s see…” He pulled out a brown leather notebook and thumbed through it. “Ah, here it is. Death by hanging. 11:47 am  on June the 18th.” The Collector looked up at him expectantly. “Well, out with it then.”

“Look, I’m sorry but I think you’ve made a mistake. I’m not going to kill myself.”

The Collector smiled. “Oh, that’s what they all they all say, now isn’t it?”

“No, really,” Brian looked The Collector right in the eye. “I think it’s time that you left. I’ve had about enough of this nonsense.”

The Collector let out  a long sigh and stood up. He made a note in his notebook before stashing it away. “No final thoughts or words.” He gave Brian one last look, “Shame, really.” And he left.

Brian locked the door behind him and watched The Collector walk down the street. What a crazy man. He returned to his bacon, which had burned to black curling crisps. As he crunched on his breakfast, Brian found his mind wandering, and began to wonder what his final thoughts would be. His eyes kept drifting to the clock on the wall, and he wondered who The Collector was and where he came from. He wondered if what anything he said were true.

He kept his eyes on the clock, and waited.

 

 

 

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